SPRING 2020
A Note from the Executive Director
I hope you are safe and healthy during this challenging time. We truly appreciate the deep commitment and creative efforts by districts, schools and community agencies to address the basic needs of students and families, and respond to the unfolding educational challenge.

We have been rapidly adapting our materials to address the new education reality created by the pandemic. These revised resources include:
• A new, multi-phase framework to help educators and their partners think strategically about how to support students and families from now through the time schools reopen. (See image below.) Embedded across the phases is advice about how to leverage the power of chronic absence and other metrics to reduce the adverse impact of this crisis. Find the details on our website.
• Our recent blog on connecting remotely with families notes that the relationships educators are forging with students and families will be helpful now and when schools reopen. The post emphasizes making sure your message is positive and supportive of how families might be feeling, and offers links to resources. See our blog.

• Three webinars offering practical advice about connecting with students and families, leveraging the power of community partnerships, using existing chronic absence data and more. Find the recording links and presentation slides for the first two webinars on our website.
The first webinar, Data + Relationships Can Strengthen Your School's Response to COVID-19, was sponsored by NAESP, and focused on the leadership role principals can play today. Check out a blog on this webinar by CSBA: Focus on outreach, health and data can help schools limit COVID-19 impacts

Our second webinar, Reducing the Adverse Impact of the Coronavirus on Students and Families, co-sponsored with the Healthy Schools Campaign and Institute for Educational Leadership, highlighted district-wide strategies in urban, suburban and rural settings.

In the third webinar, Using Behavior Science to Help Families Help Kids, sponsored by Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, we discussed how behavior science can inform family engagement during the COVID-19 response, from the decision to close schools to helping children transition back when schools reopen. The recording link will be posted soon!

Whether learning takes place at home or in a school building, it’s important to keep in mind that chronic absence, broadly defined as missing too much school students are at academic risk, is still a meaningful measure to monitor even though the Every Student Succeeds Act metric has been waived. Absenteeism data collected prior to school closures can be used to identify who might need additional support.

This data metric will be especially valuable because it is now one of the few consistent real-time data points still available to help tailor learning strategies and assistance to students. Broken out by ethnicity and other student sub-groups as well as grade and school, this data can help us target resources to fight against growing inequities.

Stay safe and stay well.

Hedy N. Chang
Founder and Executive Director

Donate to Attendance Works
As the coronavirus pandemic unfolds in the U.S., we are committed to doing everything we can to offer resources and materials that help respond to this rapidly changing reality. Our ability to provide free strategies, resources and technical assistance depends on our foundation partners, colleagues and you. Please consider donating to Attendance Works here!
News Highlights
Resource Spotlight
Feeling connected to school is vital to teen health and educational achievement. Robert Balfanz, a professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Education, offers practical ideas on how to keep secondary students – especially those at-risk of not graduating – engaged during distance learning. Find the video and PDF here.

Special education teachers are now tasked with developing unique plans for every student that align with their IEPs. While the new reality is a sudden shift, Edutopia has gathered ideas from special education teachers on how to make the best of this challenging situation. Read Edutopia’s New Strategies in Special Education as Kids Learn From Home.
The impact from the coronavirus pandemic is especially threatening for our most vulnerable students – those who live in low-income communities, struggle with food or housing insecurity, have disabilities or are English learners. The Massachusetts Education Equity Partnership developed five steps for districts and states to consider as they work to preserve student well-being and promote instructional equity. Download Keeping Equity at the Forefront During COVID-19 School Closures .

We’re posting resources that address student and family health and equity, as well as federal and state resource pages. We advise consulting your state education and public health agencies as well as your school district and local public health department for local information. Do you have a resource to share? Email catherine@attendanceworks.org. Find our webpage, Coronavirus: Resources for Educators
Attendance Awareness Campaign 2020
Now that schools have closed during the coronavirus pandemic, we are committed to doing everything we can to offer resources and materials that help respond to this rapidly changing reality. With this in mind, we will be focusing our eighth Attendance Awareness Campaign on supporting students and families with the transition back to school in the fall. Stay tuned for more information.
Research News
Writing simple, easy to understand messages is difficult in normal times, but is likely to be more so with facts changing as rapidly as they are today, writes researcher Todd Rogers in an article in CNN. Rogers shows how research conducted by Attendance Works, Carly Robinson, Jessica Lasky-Fink and Rogers can be applied to improving communications to families during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read Why no one is reading your coronavirus emails. Find the research paper, Using Behavioral Insights to Improve Truancy Notifications.
State News
Miguel Cardona, Commissioner of Education for Connecticut, released Attendance Guidance and Ensuring Student Engagement During School Class Cancellation During COVID-19 for school districts. The guidance emphasizes the importance of student engagement, and encourages district and teaching staff to check in on all students to ensure they have access to information and services, and that they are safe and supported. Find CT’s guidance here.
School closures due to coronavirus have impacted at least 55.1 million students, according to a state-wide map created by Education Week. Updated regularly, the map shows that as many as 32 states, 3 U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia have closed schools for the remainder of the school year, and includes a listing of how long schools are expected to be closed. Find EdWeek’s map, Coronavirus and School Closures.
Policy News
In response to the coronavirus epidemic, the U.S. Education Department (ED) is allowing states to request waivers for ESSA’s chronic absence accountability metric. We encourage educators and policy makers to continue reviewing their chronic absence data to help identify the schools, students and families that need additional supports and to develop new metrics for noticing when students are missing out on learning opportunities.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology analyzed state education agency policy guidance related to remote learning, published by all 50 U.S. states, by the end of March 2020. Take a look at Remote Learning Guidance From State Education Agencies During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A First Look and COVID-19 State Education Agency Remote Learning Guidance.
Upcoming Events
Strategies for Districts to Support Self-Care for Educators During the COVID-19 Pandemic. On April 29, 2020, 3:00 pm ET, a webinar hosted by REL West, the Region 15 Comprehensive Center, and the National Center to Improve Social & Emotional Learning and School Safety, will offer practical information backed by research to help school staff cope with the stresses of school closures and quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Register.
Consulting Services
In addition to free resources and strategies, Attendance Works offers fee-based consulting services tailored to individual state agencies, school districts and schools. We are developing virtual options that provide the same high-quality technical assistance. For more information email cecelia@attendanceworks.org
Attendance Works would like to express its deep appreciation to the foundations that are currently funding our work nationally and in communities across the country: GRoW @ Annenberg, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Arkansas Community Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The California Endowment, The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund, Hellman Foundation, Heising-Simons Foundation, Hellman Foundation, Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, Kaiser Permanente Northwest, Open Society Institute–Baltimore, Rogers Family Foundation, San Francisco Foundation, Skillman Foundation, Stuart Foundation, United Way for Southeastern Michigan, United Way of Greater Kansas City, and Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation.